After a 10-month-old puppy died on a United Airlines flight when an attendant instructed the dog’s owner to store it in the overhead compartment, people are calling for a boycott.
On a Monday evening flight fom Houston's IAH to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, a passenger was told to place the 10-month-old Frenchie and its carrier in the overhead compartment, passenger June Lara told the Houston Chronicle.
"However, the flight attendants of flight UA1284 felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water," Lara wrote on Facebook. "They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow. They assured the safety of the family's pet so wearily, the mother agreed."
Once the plane landed from the three-hour flight, the passenger opened the overhead compartment to find their dog was dead.
According to Maggie Gremminger, a witness on board, the dog's owner originally had the dog in the pet carrier and it was stored under the seat in front of her. Gremminger told Buzzfeed News a flight attendant told the woman she would need to put the bag in the overhead bin because it did not fit properly under the seat. She said the woman was "very hesitant and reluctant," saying her dog was inside.
"There was some back-and-forth before finally the flight attendant convinced her to move the carrier to the bin above," she told Buzzfeed. "The gentleman sitting next to me (in 24B at that time) looked at one another to confirm what we had just seen, both of us acknowledging it was clearly a dog, and feeling stunned that it was placed there."
Once the story of Papacito the frenchie went viral, people slammed the airline for allegedly causing its death
United released a statement that said it is investigating the animal's death
"This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin," United stated. "We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again."
According to United's pet policy, animals must be in a carrier and "fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times."